Pittsburgh Update

Pittsburgh Update publishes weekly summaries of recent developments in the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh, The Episcopal Church, and the Anglican Communion that affect or could affect Pittsburgh Episcopalians. Emphasis is on reporting, not interpretation. This is a service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh. This site is in no way affiliated with the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh or the Anglican Diocese of Pittsburgh.

A Pittsburgh Episcopal Voice          

A Service of Progressive Episcopalians of Pittsburgh         

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Week Ending 02/25/19

Parishes Supply Fresh Water to Cuban Communities

Getting clean water is a major issue in Cuba.  The Episcopal Church is trying to be part of the solution. Various Episcopal groups have installed 32 water purification systems in communities with Episcopal Churches.  Six of these were installed in the last 2 weeks by a team from St. David's Church in Radnor, PA and a team from Friends of the Episcopal Church in Cuba.  the two groups also brought other desired supplies to distribute.  The goal is to have fresh water sources installed in all 52 communities with an Episcopal Parish.  The effort also includes training members of the Cuban parishes to maintain the systems.   For more read the story here.  

Making a Cold Winter Warmer

St. John's Episcopal Church in Jackson Hole has been trying to make the winter a little warmer  in their communities.  The parish has been gathering new and lightly used warm winter coats and hanging them outside the church.  Signs invite anyone who needs a coat to take one.  So far they have distributed over 100 coats.  The Jackson Hole newspaper covered this outreach

Mary Kostel To Replace David Beers

David Booth Beers who has served as Chancellor to four Presiding Bishops is finally taking a well-deserved retirement.  Mary Kostel, who was working with Beers by the time the Pittsburgh schism occurred and who has most recently been serving as the chief litigator on property issues for TEC and as Chancellor of the Diocese of Washington will now become the Chancellor for the Presiding Bishop.  The Episcopal News Service has more information, including more details on Kostel's and Beers's service.  

Churches Respond to Turmoil in Haiti and Venezuela

The general situation in Haiti has disintegrated to the point that the U.S. embassy is urging all Americans to leave.  This has created a dilemma for a number of American missionaries and church workers.  Those leaving are having to be taken by helicopter to the airports because of burning tire roadblocks.  The turmoil is also likely to affect the ability of the Episcopal Diocese of Haiti to move forward with their reorganization plan following the failed episcopal election.  The situation in Venezuela where large scale protests and a competing government to President Maduro has led to an international crisis led to this statement from the Office of Government Relations of The Episcopal Church.  The article has a link to a detailed background piece by the BBC on Venezuela that is well worth the read.

Cuban Churches Oppose New Constitution

Christianity Today reports that Cuban and Evangelical Churches are opposing the new Cuban Constitution because it weakens religious freedom provisions and provides for same-sex marriage.  It is not clear if any of the Episcopal Church parishes are joining the protests.   The Church in Cuba is in the process of being re-integrated into The Episcopal Church as a diocese in compliance with a vote taken at General Convention 2018. The Cuban Church began as a missionary diocese of The Episcopal Church, but was forced into a special extra-provincial status given U.S. policy towards Cuba under Castro. 

Updates on Continuing Stories

Methodists Struggle With LGTBQ Ministries

Many Episcopalians have been following closely the course of the special synod called by the United Methodists to deal with questions related to sexuality and underway right now.  The Episcopal Church and the Methodists have been in conversation about full communion, and a proposal for recognition is scheduled to be considered by the 2021 General Convention.  The current Methodist synod includes representatives from a number of countries around the world, including many in Africa, which as Episcopalians are aware, is not supportive of LGBTQ people. Four different proposals went to committee.  Two of these gathered the majority support and represented very different outcomes. The "traditional"  one more strongly enforces bans on ordination and same sex marriage, forbids service by those in same-sex relationships, and includes a condemnation of homosexuality. Methodist bishops had proposed a "One Church" solution that would create a local  "live and let live" framework for ordination and same sex marriage.  The only option sent to the floor for a vote from committee was the "traditional" option.  The Once Church option has strong support in the US and was supported by 46% of those voting at synod.  Other votes taken by the synod make it easy for parishes to leave the church and for clergy to retain pensions.  If the traditional option becomes policy, there may well be a split in which a majority of the U.S. parishes leave the United Methodists and set up a new Methodist Church. 

The Lambeth Waters Continue Roiling

After the announcement that the Archbishop of Canterbury would not be inviting the same-sex spouses of bishops to Lambeth 2020, there was immediate reaction.  The reaction has continued.  Mark Harris has given his thoughts in an essay on his blogThe Living Church has now published an opinion piece by a noted Episcopal seminary professor. President of the House of Deputies, the Rev. Gay Jennings issued a statement, and the Executive Council of the Episcopal Church has also weighed in.  All are critical of the announcement. Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Canterbury has called a meeting of Anglican Primates for January 2020 with one of the topics of discussion the agenda for Lambeth.  By then, however, the planning committee will have made extensive plans.  The question is,  "Will a bloc of primates upend plans to have a Lambeth without votes and resolutions?"

Canon Kai Ryan Joins List of Newly Elected Women Bishops

Pittsburgh Update has noted the string of episcopal elections being held in which women have been chosen bishop.  Texas announced a slate of nominees  for suffragan bishop to replace Bishop Dena Harrison in December.  Since the current suffragan is a woman, the slate upheld a status quo.  The election has been held, and Canon Kathryn (Kai) Ryan has been chosen.  You can read more about her here.

South Carolina Bishop Counsels Patience 

The federal and state court suits continue to drag on, and while South Carolina leaders have been trying to prepare for the transition necessary after final decisions in the church's favor are issued, the waiting can get on people's nerves.  Bishop Skip Adams has circulated a sermon he recently preached at one of his parishes.  In it he counsels patience and to consider the many gifts that have come to the church as they wait for the outcomes.  Some of the gifts Adams mentions are the new forms of doing church that emerged, and a deepened sense of spirituality.  You can read the whole here.